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To Topple Toyota, Volkswagen Must Accelerate in the U.S.

VW has set a hefty goal for itself: to displace Toyota as the world's No. 1 car company. The German automaker is actually within reach, thanks mainly to its huge lead in China. To overtake Toyota, however, VW will need to really ramp up sales in the American market.

Volkswagen on Track to Overtake Toyota, CEO Says

Volkswagen (VLKAY) CEO Martin Winterkorn said the company is on track to overtake Toyota Motor Corp. (TM) as the world%u2019s largest automaker. The German company beat Toyota%u2019s full-year profit goal in the first nine months.

Legal Problems May Delay Volkswagen's Merger With Porsche

Legal wrangling may delay Volkswagen%u2019s (VLKAY) merger with Porsche, Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn said. Volkswagen planned to complete a merger with Porsche in 2011. Porsche originally planned to buy Volkswagen by securing stock options, only to see its debt levels surge.

Luxury Carmakers Predict Strong Fourth Quarter

Luxury carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz forecast vigorous fourth quarter sales on growing demand from China. BMW said it expects a "double-digit" percentage rise in fourth quarter deliveries, Bloomberg News said. Mercedes said it was "very confident" about continuing growth in the final three months of 2010.

OECD Raises Second Quarter Growth Estimate

The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development upped its estimate for second quarter economic growth among its 33 member nations on signs that investment rose. Gross domestic products in OECD countries increased by an average of 0.9% in the three months through June, the organization said, according to Bloomberg News. The OECD previously estimated second quarter growth of 0.7%.

Goldman Sued by German Bank Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

Goldman Sachs Group (GS) was sued by German bank Landesbank Baden-Wuerttemberg for allegedly mis-representing the credit quality of its mortgage-backed securities. The German bank ended up posting a $37 million loss on the investment.

Daimler Denies Offer for Fiat Industrial Unit

Daimler AG (DDAIF) denied that is in talks with Fiat SpA (FIATY) about taking over the Italian carmaker%u2019s industrial operations. "There are no talks on this with Fiat," Daimler spokesman Florian Martens told Bloomberg News. "In our industry at this time, everyone is talking with everyone and so are we."

Google's Street View Banned in Czech Republic

Google's controversial Street View service, which has raised privacy concerns in countries around the world, got the heave-ho from the Czech Republic Tuesday after failing to file for the proper registration to operate in that country.

European Commission Raises Economic Growth Forecasts

The European Commission upped its forecast for economic growth in the European Union and the 16-member euro zone in 2010, based on strong growth in industrial exports. The commission said that the 27-member EU would probably grow by 1.8% in 2010, compared with an earlier forecast of 0.9%, The Wall Street Journal reported. The commission forecast growth of 1.7% for the euro zone, compared with an earlier forecast of 0.9%.

Deutsche Bank Plans $11.5 Billion Share Sale

Deutsche Bank (DB), Germany%u2019s largest lender, is to announce a share sale worth as much as 9 billion euros ($11.5 billion) as it prepares for tighter regulations and aims to purchase a larger stake in Postbank. The plan may be announced early next week, The New York Times reported without naming its sources. Also next week, the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision may decide that banks should hold bigger capital reserves.

German Exports Declined in July

German exports fell in July, suggesting that Europe%u2019s largest economy may be slowing after record growth in the second quarter. Exports, adjusted for working days and seasonal changes, fell 1.5% from June, Bloomberg News reported. A survey of economists by Bloomberg News had forecast unchanged exports.

BMW Aims to Boost Sales to 2 Million Units a Year

Bayerische Motoren Werke AG aims to boost sales to more than 2 million a year by 2020 by widening the 6-series and Mini model lines as well as bringing in a battery-powered car for city driving. BMW, which sold 1.29 million cars last year, is trying to fend off competition in the luxury car segment from Volkswagen (VLKAY) and Audi, Bloomberg News reported.

Europe's Debt Crisis: Here We Go Again?

Europe's shakiest economies managed to ride out a sovereign debt crisis this spring with a lot of help from their more stable neighbors and the major central banks. But with global recovery faltering, the data coming out of Europe suggests we may soon see a replay of the debt default crisis.

European Economic Confidence Gains After Export Growth

Euro zone economic confidence rose to the highest in more than two years this month after booming exports drove economic growth. An index of executive and consumer sentiment gained to 101.8 in August, from 101.1 in July, the European Commission said, according to Bloomberg News. That%u2019s the highest since March 2008.

Legal Briefing: Facebook Trying to Patent "Face"

Facebook went after teachers' networking site Teachbook, claiming that anything "--book" and social networking infringes its mark. Now, Facebook is trying to patent its name's first syllable: Face.

BMW Expands the Mini to Reach New Customers

BMW has a new strategy to sell its iconic Mini car: make it larger, and sell it to families. The new Mini Countryman is a crossover, with four doors and expanded leg and storage room in the back, Bloomberg New reported. This could help the company expand the brand%u2019s customer base beyond those who love the car for its retro chic.

Bundesbank Raises Germany Growth Forecast

Germany%u2019s central bank raised it growth forecast for the country after a second quarter in which the economy expanded its most rapid rate in two decades. The Bundesbank said that Germany%u2019s gross domestic product will increase by about 3% in 2010, Bloomberg News said. The bank had previously forecast growth of 1.9%.

European Economic Growth Beats Expectations

A strong German economic performance helped drive better-than-expected second-quarter growth in the euro zone. The combined GDP of the currency zone%u2019s 16 countries grew 1% from the first quarter, The Wall Street Journal said. That%u2019s the strongest quarterly performance since 2006, and easily beat the 0.7% forecast by economists surveyed by Dow Jones Newswires.

Boosting Exports Is Key to U.S. Economic Recovery

Ways to avoid a painful Japan-like deflationary spiral are gripping investors and policymakers alike following Friday's disappointing jobs report. But to ensure a true recovery over the long haul, the U.S. would do well to look instead at Germany, which is banking more on manufacturing to tap into surging global demand.

Don't Get Too Excited Yet About Europe's Rebound

Strong signs have emerged that the European economy has rebounded from the Greek debt crisis and subsequent contagion. But some analysts have compelling arguments for warning that the region's apparent bounce-back could prove to be short-lived.

When Americans Stop Shopping, the World Suffers

With the U.S. consumer economy in the doldrums, the impact is being felt globally. From China to Germany and Canada to Japan, America's major trading partners are struggling to adapt to a sudden decline in U.S. imports.

Real Signs of Confidence in Europe's Economy

Although Wall Street anxiously awaited the results of bank stress tests in Europe, the real news is elsewhere: the improving economic conditions across Europe. Can the U.S. learn a lesson from Germany and France?

Germans Raid Credit Suisse in Tax Evasion Probe

German prosecutors raided all 13 Credit Suisse branches in the country on Wednesday as part of a probe into tax fraud. Earlier this year, German authorities acquired information on some 1,500 Credit Suisse customers who may have been using the Swiss accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Maybe Europe's Economy Isn't So Broken After All

All eyes are on U.S. corporate earnings, but don't overlook what's going on across the Atlantic: The sovereign debt crisis is easing amid growing signs that an economic rebound may be taking shape in the European Union as well.

BMW Hits the Gas on 2010 Profit and Outlook

Germany's economy may be struggling right now, but one of the country's premier automakers sees brighter days ahead. BMW said Tuesday it expects pretax profits this year to "rise more sharply than previously forecast," driven by better-than-expected vehicle sales.

Solar Energy Market Will Get Even Hotter in 2010

This year is turning out to be a good one for solar energy equipment makers and project developers. Solar panel makers saw a 92% jump in shipments in the second quarter from a year ago, and market research firms have issued bullish outlooks for the industry.